Why Won’t Candidates Run on This Life Issue?

This week, as part of Election Month at Patheos, the prompt for bloggers is: What are the key issues at stake in this election for people of your tradition?Well, I suppose I should start by disclaimering that I am not a canon lawyer, and this is not Official Catholic Advice.  But, hey, at least the issue I'm going to talk about is non-partisan.  And that's the worse part; as the last foreign policy debate showed, callousness to human life, provided it's that of the enemy (or people living in … [Read more...]

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Know Your Enemy

I've been introducing one of my housemates to Battlestar Galactica and we got into an argument about whether it's acceptable to root for the Cylons or specific Cylons.  Luckily for blog readers you don't watch BSG (shame on you), this spilled over into a more general argument about what qualifies an individual as an enemy.I don't think there are any humans about which you can exuberantly say delenda est - that which must be destroyed.  There are times when lethal force or imprisonment is the … [Read more...]

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Unarmed Prophets Stuck in a Chinese Room

I received a comped copy of Alone with a Jihadist through Speakeasy.Aaron Taylor spent seven hours arguing with Irish convert to Islam Khalid Kelly as part of a documentary called Holy Wars.   After the debate was over, he was troubled by Kelly's conflation of religion and the state and endorsement of war as evangelization.  This book lays out his pacifistic theology.When I signed up to review this book, I though more of it would be focused on the debate itself, but the confrontation … [Read more...]

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If you can’t take the heat, turn into a tardigrade!

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" is a quote that is frequently attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (without sourcing). I found it for the first time while I was in middle school in a Dear Abby column and adopted it as a mantra until some point in college.  This can be a helpful coping strategy, especially in middle school, but I was definitely too enthused about it.I flashed back to my younger self when I read Ted Seeber's comment on my post about the campaign against Jen … [Read more...]

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Offering Loving Resistance [Sequence Index]

In July 2012, Patheos sent me a copy of Logan Mehl-Laituri's memoir Reborn on the Fourth of July: The Challenge of Faith, Patriotism & Conscience to review, and thus was sparked a wide- ranging (unusually book-heavy, even for me) discussion of just war, martyrdom, the courage of enemies, and whether Hamlet is the worst person in Hamlet.  I've collected all those loosely linked posts here.Can Lethal Resistance be Loving? - The initial book review, discussing Laituri's decision to become a … [Read more...]

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Brave Enough to Kill

The Pentagon is considering awarding Distinguished Warfare Medals to drone pilots and Glen Greenwald is furious.  He sees it as an attempt "to depict drone warfare as some sort of courageous and noble act." Greenwald and I are in accord in condemning the use of drones for assassination, but I don't know that I agree with his critique here.  Greenwald says flying a drone cannot meet any of our traditional criteria for valor because: Whatever one thinks of the justifiability of drone attacks, i … [Read more...]

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What Can You Do in the War?

this republic of suffering

Given the way our discussion of pacifism has meandered over to a debate about martyrdom, what you want to "accomplish" with your death (and whether that's a coherent question), I'd like to recommend something for your summer reading list: Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.  It's a fabulous book.  It doesn't presuppose that you're a Civil War buff, so casual readers have no barrier to entry, and it delves into a strange, tightly-circumscribed  topic, … [Read more...]

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